Tag: gardening tips

Pollinators are an Important Part of Gardens

A thriving backyard garden requires homeowners to take steps to ensure the garden has the best environment in which to grow and thrive. The right tools and components, including trowels, rakes, soil, amendments, and fertilizer, can help gardeners create beautiful spaces. It’s also important that pollinators are made to feel welcome in the garden. The United States Department of Agriculture reports that one-third of all agricultural output depends on pollinators. The USDA notes that insects and other animal pollinators are vital to the production of healthy crops for food, fibers, edible oils, medicines, and other products. Pollinators also are essential for maintaining habitats and ecosystems that many wild animals rely on for food and shelter. The U.S. Forest Service says that, without pollinators, the human race and all of the earth’s terrestrial ecosystems would not survive. Pollination done the natural way often yields large, flavorful fruits.

Pollinators are make-or-break components of large-scale agriculture, and they’re just as important in private home gardens. The Pollinator Partnership, an organization that works to protect pollinators and their habitats across North America, says pollinators include bees, butterflies, beetles, birds, and bats. These animals travel from plant to plant carrying pollen on their bodies. The following are some ways to maintain healthy pollinator habitats.

• Consider the soil and types of plants that will thrive in it before choosing what to plant. Fix drainage issues and plant with sunlight in mind.

• Vary the colors and shapes of plants to attract a greater array of pollinators. Plant flowers close to vegetable gardens to attract pollinators. • Group plants together when planting to more effectively attract pollinators.

• Select plants that flower at different times of the year so that nectar and pollen sources are available year-round.

• Whenever possible, choose native plants.

• Avoid the use of pesticides.

• Provide a water source for pollinators, such as a shallow dish with stones half-submerged for perching.

Pollinators are important for gardens, whether those gardens are commercial operations or small backyard plots. Allow pollinators to share spaces and be mindful of behaviors that can threaten their survival.

Container Gardening for Beginners

Gardening is a rewarding activity that gardening enthusiasts can’t wait to get back to once the weather warms up. Many gardeners find getting their hands dirty while tending to a garden can be a great form of escapism. In addition, growing one’s own fruits and vegetables can be great for the environment. Though it’s easy to assume gardening is an activity exclusive to homeowners with their own yards, that’s not the case at all. Container gardening can make it possible for anyone to garden regardless of where they live.

The benefits of container gardening go beyond making gardening accessible to everyone. Many plants grown in containers are less susceptible to disease than plants grown in the soil, which can reduce reliance on potentially harmful pesticides. Container gardens also tend to be easier to maintain than traditional gardens, making gardening more doable for people with especially hectic schedules. Container gardening can be simple, and novices can consider these tips when planning and ultimately tending to their first gardens.

Conduct a light audit. Walk around your home to determine where your plant can be placed so it gets as much light as it needs to thrive. Some plants need a lot of light, while others can thrive with a lot less. By conducting a light audit before choosing plants, you can determine if your home is most conducive to plants that require a lot of a light or those that need little light to get by.

Make sure containers have ample drainage. The gardening experts at Good Housekeeping note that drainage holes are essential when choosing containers. Waterlogged soil can be fatal for plants, so there must be ample drainage in the container. Don’t focus too much on the size of the holes, just make sure that they allow excess water to drain out from the pot.

Don’t forget to feed your plants. Potting soil won’t necessarily have nutrients that plants can access, so many container gardeners must fertilize the soil so plants can thrive. Good Housekeeping notes that watering with diluted fish emulsion, seaweed extract or compost tea can help plants thrive. Feed once every two weeks to start, adjusting the schedule thereafter depending on how the plants respond.

Seek advice. Local gardening centers can be great resources for novice container gardeners. Such centers can recommend plants with a history of thriving in the area as well as plants that might be more compatible when containers are placed next to one another.

Container gardening can bring gardening to any home, whether it’s a light-filled private home or an apartment where sunlight is sparse.

How Color Can Affect Your Garden

Flower gardens can add color and awe-inspiring appeal to a property. The National Gardening Association notes that gardeners can find nearly every color of the spectrum in flowering perennials. So whether you prefer soft pink, are partial to bright red or want to relax in a garden and gaze at something deep blue, chances are you’ll find a perennial to tickle your fancy. The NGA offers the following breakdown of colors to help gardeners learn how their gardens can set the mood they’re looking for.

Bright Colors

A garden full of bright colors like red, orange, magenta, and yellow can provide a landscape with vigor and energy. The NGA notes that brightly colored flowers can withstand especially bright sunshine, meaning gardeners can marvel at their appearance even when the sun might be adversely affecting other plants and flowers.

Pastel Colors

Pastels, which include soft pink, powder blue, lavender, and peach, create a tranquil feeling in a garden. This makes pastel perfect for those who want their gardens to be a relaxing, peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The NGA notes that pastels may looked washed out in the midday sun, so they might be best enjoyed early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

Complementary Colors

Complementary colors are those that are opposite one another on the color wheel. Orange and blue are examples of complementary colors. According to the NGA, complementary colors can add creative energy and vitality to a garden.

Harmonious Colors

These colors are those that are next to each other on the color wheel, such as orange and red. The NGA recommends harmonious colors for gardeners looking to create a unifying feel in their gardens without resorting to a monochromatic color scheme. Harmonious colors give off a gentle feeling that can make for a relaxing garden atmosphere.

Monochromatic Colors

Monochromatic gardens can be awe-inspiring even though they stick to a single color and don’t provide an array of awe-inspiring colors. The NGA notes that gardeners with monochromatic gardens make them interesting by using plants of various sizes and shapes. When planting a garden, gardeners can choose whichever color scheme they prefer. To learn more about the effects of color on a garden, visit the National Gardening Association website at www.garden.org.

Gardening Pointers for Novices

People have many reasons for growing gardens, and some of the most popular gardens are plots designated for cultivating herbs and vegetables. Fresh produce at the ready is a great benefit of having a home garden, which also allows homeowners to exercise full control over which products to use to grow robust, healthy vegetables.

g3Novice gardeners may not know where to begin when it comes to planting their first vegetable gardens, and such gardeners can benefit by starting small. You may want to begin by growing plants in containers so they are more manageable and can be moved as you discover which areas of your property provide the best growing conditions.

Begin with one or two types of vegetables. Tomatoes, cucumbers and certain squashes are popular starter plants, as they are relatively hardy. Select only a few plants so you are not overwhelmed with the level of care required to maintain your garden.

Some gardeners prefer to start plants from seeds, but this will require more time and a greater commitment with regard to maintenance and planting. When just starting out, experiment with small plants that are established and already have a good root system.g2

Consult with your local gardening center for more suggestions, such as which soil amendments to use. Plants may require a certain soil pH that can be adjusted for optimal plant growth. EL156274